This year I was given the opportunity to address the inductees of the NHS at Bryant High School. I don't think I have had to write a speech since my college days. So I was eager for the challenge. I guess a sermon is similar to a speech but for my speaking style it is not. Below I've pasted the original text of my speech. Note it is without personal dictation and spoken side notes.
It’s an honor and privilege to be with you this afternoon. When I was called I had to double check with Ms Seale to make sure she was calling the right person. Me? Speaking at a National Honor Society ceremony…you must have the wrong person I thought. Being here today is very touching for me. I graduated Bryant, 20 years ago this year. Attended Kindergarten at the FBC (before Bryant had kindergarten) I am fortunate to have been able to experience Bryant from K-12th. As many of you, I too had; Mr Seal, Mr Finley, Coach Stroud and Griff, and Mr Cole. Another commonality I have with several of you, your parents and aunts and uncles…I was in High School with several of them.
A lot has changed in those 20 years since my HS years:
1994 Mosaic XS Web Browser 1994
1995 Drone Spyplanes
1996 Protease Inhibitors released which were the frist affective treatment for HIV
1997 Fujitsu Plasma TV & Portabile Difibluator
1997 Toyota Prius
1998 The Diamond Rio – first mp3 player $200 – 1 hr of music (three years before ipod)
2003 Wifi & xBox live
2005 Google Maps
2007 Apple iPhone
2009 Canon EOS 5D Mark II – anyone could shoot Hi-Def (Canon engineers developed a D-SLR processor powerful enough to encode 30 frames of high-def video from the camera's 21-megapixel sensor into video every second.)
2010 Burj Khalifa – worlds tallest building, by more than 1 thousand feet. 2,716 (almost 100 ft past ½ mile)
2011-12 Mars Curiosity and Sky Crane – thruster controlled platform that would allow it to land on mars.
I realize that there is more to NHS than a GPA. You have demonstrated a desire to serve others and communities (To think outside of who you are) and to excel in the classroom. For some of you the good grades come natural, without much difficulty. For others of you Serving others is what drives you and identifies you.
As a student pastor, every year I am signing forms for students to witness their involvement in serving others. I love doing this because it causes me to remember all of the times I was given the opportunity to serve others along side students and help provide them opportunities to serve our community and world.
Because of my close proximity to working with the student culture I take many opportunities to remind others of what Jesus Christ told the crowd when they were trying to catch Jesus in a blasphemous word trap. The religious leaders of that day asked Jesus, “what’s the greatest commandment?” Matt 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Putting others first is not something that necessarily comes natural for any of us. I feel that throughout history, the people who have left the greatest impact on our world have lived with some form of at least the second half of what Jesus said. –Look to and consider the needs of your brother- No matter your current belief of who Jesus Christ was and is, it would be difficult to deny the wisdom of his words. Love your neighbor.
Which leads me to…who do you want to be known as…5, 10, 20 years from now? What type of person? Who do you want to have made an impact on? How do you want to be remembered? Most of you, you to will have a 20 years from now…you may be here, giving and address such as this.
When will you start being that person you want to be? Bruce Springstein said, “A time comes when you need to stop waiting for the man you want to become and start being the man you want to be.” There comes a time when we must step up and become the person we want to be…the person we want to be remember being.
There are changes we have to make in our life to get to that point. Changes are natural, they are evidence of success and of improvement. No one improves by accident. To grow (become smarter, more educated, more athletic, more generous) it takes work, effort and determination.
Motivation. Motivation is not going to strike you like lightening. Follow the Nike slogan…Forgeting motivation…Just Do It. Continue becoming the person you want to be. Constantly asking yourself: How far can I go? Where do I want to go? What impact do I want to leave? How do I want to be remembered? And don’t quit striving to be that person.
You are fortunate to have the opportunity to live in a community such as Bryant, to be educated in a place with such tradition and success. Use these days as a time to build a foundation that will give evidence to a person who desires to leave our world and society a better place than how it was found.
In closing, I leave you with a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt-
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
At the gym today, I had a thought: What would our world look like if people exhibited self control? Would we need fad diets or personal trainers(?), gyms would be consistently filled -not just at the New Year, credit card debt and general debt would be much lower, in some cases certain diseases would be much less encompassing, we would regain so much lost time, marriages and families may not be in such a state of destruction, and much much more I'm sure.
Everyone of us have the ability to exhibit self control. I think so often we easily forget how to control situations and make conscious decisions and efforts to control ourself. Most of us can remember being kids and giving the "I don't know why I did ________" answer. So often we just let life happen. Thus, end up walking into sin; so often, those life controlling sins.
It's funny (sad) because in such a 'self' driven society, the control of the self is something so many of us carelessly let slip away. In the New Testament you will find instructions reminding Christians to use self-control, all for the purpose of avoiding sin. In 1 & 2 Peter, Colossians, Galatians, Titus, 1 & 2 Timothy, 1 Corinthians and the Old Testament Proverbs, God uses writers to challenge followers to live with self control.
I challenge us all, revisit our use of self control. Maybe there is an app that needs to be deleted, a book that needs to be read, a bed time that needs to be met, an early hour needed to wake (for mediation, scripture reading & prayer), a phone that needs to be turned off, a credit card that needs to be destroyed, a drink that needs to be poured out, a meal that needs to be skipped, a meeting with an accountability partner, a couch that needs to be sat on less, a Bible that needs to be opened more, a child that needs more attention,... We can go on and on listing items that we could improve on, if only we showed more self control (preaching to myself).
I am thankful for the passages from the bible that remind me of how God wants to protect us from ourselves. But we have to listen to his voice. The only way we can here sometime is by focusing our life on him...using self control.
Proverbs 25:28 -A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Christ Follower, Husband, Father, Student Pastor, and Lover of all things Garlic and Bacon.